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The role of business and cross-sector collaboration in addressing the ‘wicked problem’ of food insecurity


  • Ralph Hamann
  • Stephanie Giamporcaro
  • David Johnston
  • Schirin Yachkaschi


There is growing interest in the potential for business to make proactive contributions to food security, particularly as part of some form of cross-sector collaboration. Such collaboration can improve value chain efficiency and may also begin to address some of the ‘wicked problem’ characteristics of food insecurity. Our interviews conducted during the food price crisis in 2008 confirm that a broad cross-section of stakeholders agree that the crisis has cyclical and systemic causes and that it has serious implications for business. We also describe a range of related initiatives already being implemented by companies. There is a degree of ambivalence about the feasibility of improved collaboration, given competitive pressures and concerns about compliance with competition laws. Nevertheless, a number of respondents emphasised the need for improved collaboration on particular issues and the paper identifies a number of these, some of which have since been targeted in a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Southern Africa Food Lab, that builds on this (and other) research.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph Hamann & Stephanie Giamporcaro & David Johnston & Schirin Yachkaschi, 2011. "The role of business and cross-sector collaboration in addressing the ‘wicked problem’ of food insecurity," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 579-594, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:28:y:2011:i:4:p:579-594 DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2011.605581

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1863-1872 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Agni Kalfagianni, 2014. "Addressing the Global Sustainability Challenge: The Potential and Pitfalls of Private Governance from the Perspective of Human Capabilities," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 122(2), pages 307-320, June.

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